Travel: The greatest event of the summer is turning into a slanging match
Simon Calder’s career in travel started at Gatwick Airport, where he cleaned aircraft for Laker Airways and later worked as a security officer. He became The Independent’s Travel Correspondent in 1994, and is known as “the Man Who Pays His Way” because he does not accept free travel facilities. He writes across the Independent titles, as well as for the Evening Standard.
Saturday 27 March 1999
Forget New Year's Eve; around elevenses on 11 August, the most sublime experience of the century will be visited upon Cornwall and southern Devon - weather permitting. On pages 20 and 21 we give a definitive spread on what should be the greatest travel event of the summer.
The benefit of wearing these spectacles in advance of the event is to obscure the degeneration of what should be joyful anticipation into a slanging match between rival elements of the travel industry.
Did you know, for example, that "the Cornish authorities have all but declared a state of emergency with up to five million people expected to cross into the totality zone"? Actually, they haven't, but that's what a company called Carmargue is telling people in order to sell its holidays on board luxury yachts in the Channel.
"Devon and Cornwall will be turning people away" - not the claim of another profit-hungry company, but the assertion of a rival destination, Bath and Bristol. With accusations of profiteering and scare-mongering flying around Cornwall itself, I'm rather glad I'll be wearing these on the beach in Dieppe. See you in France, if it's not too dark.
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